Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (2023)

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Kava Roots is becoming the new go to spot in town. A spot where people from all backgrounds of life can come to socialize, network, and have a good time. If you haven't heard of or tried Kava Roots before it is definitely worth a go. It has a calming effect that seems to remove social barriers and social anxiety facilitating free flow conversation. Watch and share this video to learn more about Kava Roots and spread the news about this new spot to chill, network, and have a good time.

My name is Neil Beyer, RealtorĀ® and founder of ELEPHAS Real Estate Group. Engaging with the Billings community, contributing to its vibrancy, and showcasing the amazing businesses and organizations in our city is of great importance to me. Not to mention, a lot of fun. I am passionate about Billings and hope to utilize this website to connect and create awareness within the community highlighting the people, places, and events that make Billings such a great place to live. Check back regularly to watch my latest interview with a business owner, non-profit, or community member, access our business directory, get local news, and see upcoming Billings events.

Describe your business

Kava roots. Kava is a plant in South Pacific Islands. And we also have kratom, kratom's a plant from Thailand and Indonesia. And so Kava Kava produces this euphoric relaxed calm feeling produces a lot of same endorphins in your brain like alcohol, except it's not alcoholic. Rachel, what did you say is doesn't create those bad decision making? What do you say Rachel's our manager and we just we can't function without her. Yeah. What do you add on that? All right. So Kava. In it's from Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii and in the South Pacific Islands there. And in like Tonga and Fiji a lot of those places don't drink as much alcohol. A lot of them would drink Kava, it's a ceremonial drink. They would drink it when people came together to drink or like weddings and they started taking I believe with like peace treaties and stuff like that. What it does is the Kava tomes and it will lower your anxiety levels and give you that social talkative feeling that alcohol might give you. So the way I always explain it is like, you know, when you've had like two beers, and you kind of start feeling lighter, and you feel like you can talk to anybody, that's Kava. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, it doesn't ever fall into a depressant or mess you up so you can continue to drink it. The worst thing about it is it's a diuretic. It's pretty hardcore diuretics. So at our Kava bar here, we don't have like clocks or TVs because the talkative feeling that you end up getting is all about the socializing. You know, this whole place right here is about you know, the conversation. Yep, for sure. And you end up just, you know, hanging out meeting a lot of new people, a lot of cool people. It's a great place for you know, people that don't want to drink and get messed up to go socialize and hang out.

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (1)

It definitely facilitates conversation. I mean, I've had a drink I've had, what did I have today?

He had the puni. Kava and which is more of that social talkative. Kava has different strains as well. Then you had a concentrate smoothie. What is it called? I'll say I like to call them I just go with a chi balls even though that's not the right way Yes. And so the concentrates are good we you know for the first timers, Kava is a reverse tolerance. So coming in having Kava sometimes I mean you feel you know, the slight tingling in your in your tongue and your mouth goes numb, but having our specialty drinks with the Comic Con concentrate the concentrate is a lot stronger. Yeah. So it's it's really good for first timers, it tastes good. And you just feel those effects a little stronger. Yeah, cuz Kava is kind of milky earthy drink. A lot of times on the island, they call it dirt water. It kind of numbs your mouth, but it also doesn't taste the best. So you get new, like, you know, first timers in here, they don't really like the taste of it, which normally you chase it with a pineapple so you can clean your palate. But some of the concentrates and smoothies, you know, they end up being pretty big hit. And the thing that I've kind of like, the way that I've loved about this place to is, is it like it's a drinking alternative, you know, and there's a lot of places out in the world right now, a lot of people in the world right now that are trying to be healthier take, you know that healthier standpoint, take a different direction instead of drinking alcohol and getting messed up. So we have like a lot of ex alcoholics ex ex addicts that, you know, this is actually a great place for those kinds of people. And they end up coming around and hanging like a lot of driven, you know, with my background, I used to be a drug addict for a long time. Now I own a business. I used to fight MMA. So you get driven guys like that around here. And that puts him in a place where being around other business owners, which gives them opportunity and you know, stuff like that,

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (2)

Which has been kind of a surprise for you guys. I mean, it just kind of stumbled upon being this place where you have networking opportunities, business owners, from all of our buildings, coming here and offering opportunities to network and socialize.

Yeah, I mean, we we always knew we wanted to produce with somewhere that that all walks of life could come and you know, have a good time and feel comfortable. But yeah, what we did not know was that they would end up being this this awesome, you know, facilitating business and just ideas and networking. You know, it's just crazy. One night there was you know, we had we had a couple of towns in here. We had three chiropractors in here. We had the owner of floor trader john herb Walker, you know, you know, Johnny Angel, you know, who owns a pot? What's his business a piece of epoxy? flooring, rock flooring? Yep. Hard Rock. I mean, you know, Tucker from top sandwich. I mean, we've got tuni realtors are in here. augury mortgage lenders, and you name it, everyone wants to bring their clients here, instead of going to the bar where you talk business have two beers than six than two shots, and then you forget about what you know. Yeah. So super cool to see how that has all come to fruition.

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (3)

And you guys kind of told me that, you know, you saw the possibilities for a Kava Roots place. But I think it's kind of developed quicker and without as much marketing as you may have thought it would take initially .

Yeah, We've, I mean, really upon ourselves have done no marketing, other than a few Facebook videos and things. But I mean, it's just brought such amazing people that, that have a mean, word of mouth. They you know, they've we've got Amy and Dan, who run open mic on Tuesday nights. And I was I was telling Neil earlier, it's like, you walked in here one day, and Dan is just installing speakers. He's like, Oh, we need we need to get some better speakers in here. So we can run open mic night and have this you know, they brought up? I don't even know, I don't even know what it is. Oh, yeah, you bought a mixing board and mixing more. Yeah. So like, Mike. Okay, awesome. You know, we've had a great, you know, community of people and customers and stuff that have actually came through and everything like that, and, and you're right, like where we actually started was at my house, my wife is actually kind of like the chemist behind like tea and stuff, she brews the tea. And she would make a lot of like, Kava for us and stuff like that. So like, the way we started was we'd go in my house and have brainstorming sessions where we just drink Kava, and my wife and big fruit platters and just thinking about just business, you know, some flavoring and she tried to make these drinks and have a tryam and, and then we started inviting friends over to my house even just, you know, just meeting other people introducing them to Kava, see what they designed for you. Yeah, and then eventually we got the spot. And when we got it all set up, then we were able to actually kind of bring people in to do private parties, and introduce people to it, you know, and then with doing that, though, we created these people that were just dying for us to open. And then once we did get open, they're bringing their friends and then their friends brought their friends. And it's been really a pretty crazy ride. But I also like you said, Man, we were talking earlier is I like the service. You know, I feel like not only are we creating a great business, but we're creating a great service. Okay, you got tons of people that die in an alcoholic alcohol, consider driving situations. You know, you got young kids, you know, we all got kids that around us that are you know, 18 that are just dying, itching to get the bar so they can get messed up. Well, this place is opened up for them and they come here and then they kind of dampers in Herbes that anticipation if you know what I mean. Which also there creates that community of paper of people here, where if people are a little self secure itself, like we've had people that came in, like Amy's daughter, Abby, she coming wouldn't talk to anybody. But you get them in here and they start drinking some Kava, they opened right up. I mean, what you're dealing with today's, you know, day and age is that the younger and younger generations have this just massive anxiety, which is crazy. I mean, I can, I mean, I can understand having anxiety in business and stuff, but like a high school when I was in high school, I was, you know, taking over the world. But, you know, with social media and cell phones and computers, the anxiety and depression is just continuously rising. And that's what Kava is known to is just there like, no, the islanders say, we don't have depression we have Kava Yes, they also have oceans and beaches. But, you know, it's it's really good. The oceans and beaches are great, you know, we got the backdrop right here. So, yeah, So that's, that has been something that is extremely, you know, cool to witness, you know, they'll be able to service that. I love that. Like he said, that we're, we're creating, you know, we're bringing social interaction, you know, personable conversation back, you know, because everybody's behind a computer screen these days, you know, we're changing that, you know, it definitely facilitates that, you know, like, I feel it, you know, I feel the ease that it creates with conversation and communication, and just, it takes on those barriers. And those those walls that people put on, people don't come here and just look at their phones, or I mean, we have groups of you know, our buddies that come in and they play Yahtzee and they play. You know, we've got chess boards, people come down, play chess, and just hang out and have a good time. And you got so many people on their phones having nopsi experiments. No, not But I mean, I mean, but some, you know, some people do come, you know, work on their laptop, you know, it's, you know, a relaxing place for them to get some work done and stuff like that. But Gary, yeah, Gary. We I think we're just giving him a lot of our customers shout out right now. Yeah, that's a good thing. The I mean, while we're on that page to man is the interesting path we've also taken when it comes to local artists and talent, like we just had these open mic nights that we would have here that have now turned into like a bunch of local talented singers and guitar players and just musical and even if you're not having a jam, you know, maybe necessarily like, it's not something you do. But when my mom was here, she's like, wow, you know, I always hate karaoke. Because people are just drunk and sound like eat it's and it's always just horrible. But you come down here, and it's okay, open mic, or karaoke, whatever you want to call it. And yes, it's bringing in actual talent that is good, because they don't know they want to be here and they want to sing but then even people who aren't aren't necessarily, you know, they don't necessarily sing all the time, but they can get on and they're not drunk. So it's like, yeah, okay, maybe you're not that great. But, you know, they feel and they have some Kava and they open up. Yeah, that's the funny thing.

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (4)

What has surprised you the most about this venture about opening up Kava Roots?

man, just the just the amount, the different kinds of people that come through, and that everyone's on the same playing field, there's no egos involved. I mean, you'll have ex convicts over here trying to get their lives together, you'll have, you know, extremely successful businessmen. They're sitting in a bar together. everyone is on the same level. And yeah, they're talking. And it's like, I mean, that is, I mean, that's truly amazing to see where else more or less you see that kind of interaction, and more or less the ex convicts learning something, you know what I mean? But then again, the business owner is also probably learning something from that next comment. That's what's so interesting about it. And not only that, but the other thing I think that's so surprising was how this community of people like came and fell in love with this place. We literally have people like Amanda who get our ice on Sunday, Kate like she just shows up the bags of ice for us. Really. What do you do like people just give like, you know, and And it's amazing. We've created amazing community of people. You know what I mean?

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (5)

That and I think Billings is pretty amazing that way, at least I see it happening. You know, I'm interviewing entrepreneurs all over the place. And I get this sense of community that there's so much support in Billings.

I would say that you're right, like, dude, I think that that falls right into it, too. So I find MMA you know, in this town, they do a little story about on me, grand Solomon Did you know so? With my background, I came from like prison for release and drug addiction turn my life out of MMA. Well, when doing that this community man stepped up I had sponsors like Harvey saying that the painter joining angel from Rocky Mountain hard rock, you know, all those guys, like helped me and built me up, and then I'll tell you what, man, when I had to retire, we had to start this place. Let them know when they were here, you know what I mean? And not only were they here, they're like, Dude, this is awesome. And then they told other people, other people, you know,

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (6)

So the best marketing in the world is word of mouth. And you guys have thrived in that way. Right? You haven't spent much on advertising in terms like commercials or but you got some people in here. You knew the community supported you.

Yeah, yeah, marketing, we're still getting some systems and stuff in tact. You know, you were still working on the on some ins and outs take. Like, we had some skeptics, you know, but I kind of knew that was gonna take off. So we were just kind of like, Alright, let's get in this group. There's no one really to take advice from we kind of did some research on some other Kava bars, you know, in Florida and California. You know, I went to one in California, you know, a good friend of ours land to one in Vegas. And then so anyways, when we came in, we did this to kind of learn as we were going, but once we get those systems in place, we were planning on being on the radio, you know, give a little bit more explanation. Go interviews with guys like you, which we love, you know, so we can explain what Kava is. Because, you know, we hang a banner right now, this is copper. That's what if people don't know what that means, you know what it means? So, it's how we've

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (7)Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (8)

Is there anything new or exciting? I mean, for those people who have been here before, even for those people who haven't, I mean, is there anything you want to tell them about Kava Roots about what's happening now or in the future?

Well, we still have yet to have our grand opening. But in the sometime in the near future, we're going to be doing a grand opening with the blind bison. Oh, nice. So yeah, that's that's gonna be super exciting and a lot of fun looking forward to doing that. So sometime this spring, we'll be letting everyone know when we're going to do the do the grand opening. might might need a larger larger space. Yeah, sure. traveled and Brian, they don't mess around. Yeah. Sure, yeah. We're gonna have grabs probably Chairman working with us a little bit on some stuff. Yeah, for sure. What has surprised you the most about this venture about opening up common roots, man, just the just the amount, the different kinds of people that come through, and that everyone's on the same playing field, there's no egos involved. I mean, you'll have ex convicts over here trying to get their lives together, you'll have, you know, extremely successful businessmen. They're sitting in a bar together. everyone is on the same level. And yeah, they're talking. And it's like, I mean, that is, I mean, that's truly amazing to see where else more or less you see that kind of interaction, and more or less the ex convicts learning something, you know what I mean? But then again, the business owner is also probably learning something from that next comment.

How did you guys stumble upon Kava Roots?

Yeah, for sure. We were down in Florida Shane and me we're both still fighting MMA and we're down in Florida and Shane was looking for cranium he uses crate them a lot for anxiety and pain and and yeah, there's this cotton bar that solely crate him so he's like, Hey, you want to come with me down you know we're at this hostel hotel and he's like oh my gosh, or walk down to a couple miles to this to this Kava bar. I didn't know what it wasn't show up and you know, start getting served these drinks and coconut shells and being explained about what Kava is by the Kava tender. And then we were there for like three, four hours and then we were back there that night after our we were we were down there training. And we are at this camp doing to it so soon as two days we're we're done for the day. We'll be back at the Kava bar. And so that's how we were in Fort Lauderdale at Kama Sutra. Yeah, we were trained at a UFC fight camp at harden off 65 with Henry Luce and one of those guys down there. And yeah, man, like he said, after we had a couple of drinks, and we just ended up having like these crazy in depth conversations with people we didn't even know for quite quite a long time and just all walks of life. You know, so just super cool. You need a college kid in the corner working, doing homework, you know, a couple construction workers catching a tee, you know, in between work or at their lunch break and a couple MMA fighters Yeah, a couple business people and just just anybody and everybody just come out, hang out, relax.

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (9)Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (10)

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Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (11)

Neil Beyer Real Estate Professional

Posted on May 13

Meet Koby Jeffers and Shane Fichter, Owners of Kava Roots in Billings - Parkbench (12)

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